With pillows and a cozy quilt, the three large windows that constituted the bay were a perfect place for a long afternoon of Shabbos reading
A bay window is an architectural feature that can add more light and space to a room. If a home is built near a beautiful view, the bay window can provide an excellent viewing space.
When we were told that we couldn’t increase the dimensions of the second floor of our home, due to the vaulted ceiling on the lower floor, I was disappointed. The bedroom was a long, narrow space. But then we decided to add two sets of bay windows in the bedroom, and the space was transformed.
The windows became a magic place for my children as they were growing up. With pillows and a cozy quilt, the three large windows that constituted the bay were a perfect place for a long afternoon of Shabbos reading. It was also just the right size for two children to have a game with no younger siblings interrupting.
Another bonus: the all-glass exposure made children sitting in a snowstorm feel that they were right there under the falling snow, but still warm and cozy. Then there was the fact that the two sets of windows were parallel — a child sitting in one bay window could have a lively interaction with a sibling or friend who sat in the other set of windows.
Today, the room and windows are for me to occupy alone; they are my wonderful private place. I put a comfortable glider chair with a footstool in front of one of the sets of windows. I have a phone outlet, and I often use the footstool for my laptop when I want to write. The windows are over the recessed radiator and in the winter it’s a wonderfully cozy place for me to bring up a coffee and watch the morning sun and the street wake up and begin its day. There’s usually a pile of books and a stack of unread magazines awaiting a late-night session.
And now, this special private space has become my “nachas corner.” Every inch is filled with pictures of my children and grandchildren. It’s not a formal English garden of pictures, but a wild field of random moments that make up a lifetime. A round-cheeked toddler sitting in his ice cream truck sits next to a smiling young father giving his first brachah to a newborn. A photo of my parents seeing my baby for the first time sits in front of a bright-colored shot of my daughter.
A high school graduate glances back as she walks up to the podium, flashing a glowing smile. The picture leaning on the window, still not in any frame, boasts a smiling lion, a toddler dancing bear, and a circus master, this year’s Purim theme — that same graduate’s menagerie. In another corner, in a silver filigree frame, his face shadowed by the tallis over his head, my husband looks down at the infant on the pillow resting on his lap. Yes, these are moments that have passed. But here in my private space, the joy before my eyes is always in the present.
If the first set of windows is an oasis in time, the second set of windows, looking out onto a lovely maple tree, is a constant reminder of the changing seasons. When winter winds are still sharp, the first almost imperceptible green nodules appear through the window. The all-too-brief appearance of the sparkling white flowering buds, harbingers of spring, quickly become the lush green that blocks the sky for the remainder of the summer months. As summer fades, my eyes feast on a rainbow of magenta, red, and orange, even as I know that soon, with a heavy autumn rain or wind, the bare branches of winter will wave at me from my window.
Two sets of windows. Just as the child in one delightedly waved to his sister, cross-legged in the second, each is its own space, and yet, together creating a happy unity, the two sets are similar for me: viewed together, the windows form one grand panorama of my life.
In my nachas window are the ever-present faces of the joyful moments of the past, the music that was and never will be. In the other, my lovely maple tree stands, its natural beauty waning and waxing. But it is solidly there, always with the promise that even as the bare branches sway with the cold winter winds, the luminous light of happy moments past will return. With the natural passage of days, my window will once again be filled with deep-green maple leaves dancing in the warm summer breezes, reminding me that joy returns, and there will be new faces of happiness in the nachas window of my life.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 513)
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